I have a very small farm located in a village on the out-skirts of Chennai, India. And by small I mean very small, about half acre, close to ten grounds with around 20 coconut trees. Yeah, not a huge area but enough to realize my dreams of living off the land and living a life closer to nature. Though I live in the city for most of the week I spend my weekends tending to my farm which is 45 minutes away from where I live.
I recently created a page on fb https://www.facebook.com/kalpavrikshafarms/ and the main intention of creating this page was to show how I am trying to transition from a totally urban store-bought lifestyle to growing and making whatever I can myself; I am still not there yet…I am a work in progress, but I will get there. When I started out I was desperately looking for information, guidance and inspiration. Though I found it in various places and through various sources, I didn’t find a one stop solution for all that I wanted to do; gardening, making DIY home products (soaps, cleaners etc), farm to table cooking, writing and so much more.
After a lot of research into my own weird interests I finally found out what it was called – homesteading! And what a wonderful thing it was to have a name that encompasses and validates all my varied interests. And so I decided to share my homesteading journey with you here and by doing so I am hoping that may be if there is anyone like me out there who is looking for support, I could be there for them and say, “Hey there! Don’t worry…you are not alone. If I can do this, you can too.”
I started doing a lot of things on my own, finding out things the hard way and then somewhere down the line I realised that I should probably share my journey with others. Who knows, there could be someone or many others out there stumbling in the dark like I did. So, with a lot of hesitation and apprehension I finally gathered the courage to start this page. I say apprehension because I am a very private person by nature, an introvert and a complete social media phobic (is there a word for it because I don’t know). I am someone who is very afraid to put anything personal out there for people to see and it took a lot of courage to do this. My blogging journey helped me a lot in making me a little more brave than I was. I think what I am trying to say here is if by sharing my journey – my successes and my failures here, I could help even one person try this homesteading lifestyle, I think the purpose of starting this page would be met.
We need this homesteading journey, more than ever now. At the rate at which the world is moving towards modernisation (read slow destruction) we need to get back to our roots. And in our country, any reference to farming just conjures up an image of a dirt poor farmer living in miserable conditions (which btw is the sad reality too) but I desperately want to create a better image of a farmer; an image which would make people aspire to become one too. It can be really cool to be a farmer, you know!
And before anyone forms any ideas about me let me confess that I don’t conform to any norms or standards of a perfect version of anything. For many of us urban-dwellers, living without the comfort services and convenience stores are practically unthinkable. And it is to a large extent true and can’t be undone so easily. This is my experiment of sorts to try to see if I can try my best at living a homestead lifestyle. I may not succeed completely but I am ready to fail and learn. I am your quintessential imperfect farmer and imperfect urban dweller.
I need both worlds; the best of both worlds. You don’t have to leave one to be part of the other world. You don’t have to renounce everything urban and go live in a rural setting. You can balance both; for your well-being, for the well-being of the planet we live in.
I also don’t believe in any stereotypes, none whatsoever. I live by my own rules and my own standards of what I as an individual am capable of doing. I don’t believe in extremes; I believe in moderates because like everyone else I have my own limitations too…